Thursday, December 15, 2011

THE IRAQ WAR - FULL CIRCLE



I've posted this before -- found courtesy of the Wayback Machine -- of the post I made the day we invaded Iraq, on March 19, 2003.  This month, the war in Iraq officially ends, and our troops will be out of Iraq by December 31st. 

As we wrap up, and hope and pray that we'll be done in Afghanistan soon as well, I'd like to thank a few people who performed above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks to the "other" 1% -- the percentage of Americans who were actually asked to make real sacrifices for this war -- for all that they gave and all that they lost. Thanks to their families who lost them, for a while, or forever, depending on how or if they returned.  Thanks to President Obama for finally getting this done, despite my doubts that he would in the end.
March 19, 2003

My country went to war today. A deadline passed, a stand-off persisted, and then came the rockets.

If I had to sum up how I feel, I'd call it sadness. I'm so, so sad. I'm sad it's come to this. I'm sad that my feelings of overwhelming cynicism made me believe that it always would come to this. And I'm sad that so many people will not be satisfied, will not have had enough, until blood is spilled and people are dead.

When I was a child, I used to think that if we could just find a way to get out of Viet Nam, we would live in peace. After all, hadn't we learned our lesson about war? Now, nearly thirty years later, here we are again, sending troops to fight for something that vaguely resembles liberty. Something that's been dressed up in noble cloth and made to look like a noble cause. But try as I might, I can't see the Emperor's clothes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Emperor is, in fact, naked.

My country went to war today. I pray that things will happen quickly, with a minimum of bloodshed and casualty, and then we'll bring our soldiers home in one piece. And maybe this time, we'll have learned our lesson.

The right lesson.

The lesson that we've learned? I'm not sure entirely. "Never bring a knife to a gunfight?" No, that's close, but not quite. "Who's the bigger fool? The fool or the fool that follows him?" Getting warmer.

Maybe it's something simpler and more straightforward. As a young man, my father served in the Air Force during the Korean War as a jet mechanic and one of his fellow mechanics, a big, gentle Alabama boy that never picked a fight, but never ran from one either had a favorite saying he'd use on my dad often.

"Don't let your alligator mouth run away with your hummingbird ass." 

Yeah... yeah, that's it....

Monday, December 05, 2011

That Newt... He's Such a Kidder...

(Well, okay, he wasn't kidding, but he was funny, and in the Sowards family, that's often all that matters.)

Newt used to espouse removing poor children from the custody of their parents and placing them in orphanages (because, theoretically, being poor is abusive to children).  That idea kind of went over like a big ol' lead balloon back in '94, when Newt first proposed it. When then-First Lady Hilary Clinton told a news reporter she thought it was terrible idea, Newt recommended that she go to Blockbuster and rent "Boys Town".

Gingrich, pictured here, describing
something really small - his heart, perhaps?
His brain? Some other body part?
Now, Newt has a better idea. Instead of allowing all those kids to laze around and go to school and play sports and hang out with their friends, he has suggested that child labor laws be repealed and kids be put to work. He wants to pull poor kids out of class and have them scrub toilets and mop pee-soaked floors in school restrooms.  Why? Well, because apparently, the poor are poor because they don't work. That's right. Thus, poor kids don't see examples of hard-working people around him.

So, see, the mopping of their classmates piss off the floor will teach poor kids the value of hard work.  Because none of these kids are the product of hard-working single parents (mostly mothers) who struggle constantly to put food on their families' tables.

Earlier today, Gingrich rubbed old wrinkly elbows with faux billionaire and future GOP debate moderator Donald Trump.  These two fops put their heads together and cooked up a scheme to force these poor, put-upon kids in constant contact with Trump by having a mini-"Apprentice"-style mentorship. As if poor kids didn't have enough troubles.

I'm not really sure why Gingrich wants to hurt poor people so badly. But there's a part of me that just wishes he'd walk into a food bank somewhere and just kick one of them in the shins and get it out of his system. Then maybe he'd shut up about it.  I can't even imagine what poor people could have done to him to piss him off so royally. But then, perhaps the crime of being poor is enough.

Week after week, the GOP offers up a new clown to lead their circus parade, and while it is entertaining, I have to admit, it's also sad and disconcerting. The GOP has single-handedly turned America into a walking, talking joke of a country.  How can we expect the world to take us seriously when we've turned our political system into bad reality TV.